The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls

The BEST Glazed Orange Rolls — These homemade orange rolls are filled with a buttery orange filling and are topped with a simple orange glaze. They can be prepped the night before, if needed. 

Glazed Orange Rolls in baking dish

Sweet Orange Rolls Recipe

These orange rolls have been on my mental to-make list for over two years. I finally made them, and they were so worth the wait. They’re the best sweet rolls I’ve ever had or made.

I wanted to make sure to get the dough just right. Buttery, soft, light, and fluffy is the only kind of sweet roll I want, and these deliver.

I used my favorite cinnamon roll dough as the jumping off place, but downsized the recipe between 25 to 33 percent. I wanted a slightly smaller batch because honestly the smaller the batch of fatty, fluffy, frosted carbs just laying around, the better. I also cut the rolls smaller, making 20 in a 9×13-inch pan rather than the standard 12, for some built-in portion control. Unless you go back for seconds or thirds. That may have happened.

The dough is buttermilk-based, and although I’ve made non-buttermilk sweet rolls before, for the softest, lightest, and most tender rolls, I swear by buttermilk. Between the eggs, butter, and buttermilk, the dough rises beautifully and it’s my new favorite dough base.

Glazed Orange Roll on white plate

For the filling I used storebought orange marmalade, but if you have homemade, even better. I love the tiny bits of orange rind that are almost imperceptible in the finished rolls, but there’s just enough to add subtle texture.

The glaze is an orange juice-based confectioners’ sugar glaze, with orange zest stirred in for an extra pop of orange flavor. I also made the glaze using lemon juice when I was testing the recipe and if you’re a lemon fan, it’s a fun twist. The glaze is poured on as soon as the rolls come out of the oven. It soaks into the nooks and crannies and adds more moisture and softness to the already moist, soft orange cinnamon rolls.

Some glaze will drip through onto the bottom of the baking pan, so make sure to spoon it up and don’t waste of drop of that liquid gold.

These orange rolls are so soft, moist, tender, wonderfully sweet, and just irresistibly good. They’re one of the best things that has ever come out of my kitchen. Try them and you’ll be a believer, too. I promise. People here may have fought over who got the last one.

pan of Glazed Orange Cinnamon Rolls

What’s in These Orange Rolls? 

To make this orange cinnamon roll recipe, you’ll need: 

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Instant or dry yeast
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs

For the orange filling, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Orange marmelade 
  • Light brown sugar

And for the orange glaze, you’ll need: 

  • Orange juice
  • Vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Salt 
  • Milk or cream
  • Orange zest 

pouring glaze over pan of orange rolls

How to Make Orange Rolls

To make this sweet roll recipe, you first need to make the yeast dough. Once the dough comes together, let it rise for roughly 2 hours in a greased bowl, or until it’s doubled in size. 

One the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a large rectangle. Spread the butter evenly over the dough, followed by the orange marmalade and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Gently roll up the orange roll dough and slice it into 20 even pieces. 

Place the orange rolls into your prepared baking pan and let them rise for another hour, or until doubled in size. Once risen, bake the orange cinnamon rolls until they’re golden on top. 

As soon as the orange rolls come out of the oven, whisk together the orange glaze and evenly drizzle it over the rolls. These beauties are best enjoyed immediately. 

pan of Glazed Orange Rolls

Can I Prep These Sweet Rolls the Night Before? 

Yes, there’s an option to make the orange cinnamon rolls as overnight rolls. Start the dough at night, roll and shape it, and don’t let the dough rise. Then refrigerate the coiled rolls until you’re ready to bake the next morning. Before baking, let the rolls rise at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.

This way you don’t have to get up at 5am to have these ready with your first cup of coffee! 

Can I Freeze Orange Rolls? 

Yes, these sweet rolls can be made and baked to completion, and then frozen for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat the frozen rolls, set them on your counter to thaw and glaze them immediately prior to serving.

If you want to make these orange rolls in bulk in advance, I recommend baking these from start to finish and then freezing, rather than trying to freeze unbaked dough.

 

Glazed Orange cinnamon Roll on white plate

Tips for Making Orange Rolls From Scratch

Because this is more of a special occasion breakfast, I recommend buying the exact ingredients I call for in the recipe and not making any substitutions. Real buttermilk makes a big difference in these orange rolls, as does real butter and sugar. 

When slicing the orange cinnamon rolls, I highly suggest using dental floss instead of a knife to do the job. Floss doesn’t compress the rolls like a knife does, and it makes the process go more smoothly. 

And if you have leftover orange rolls, you’ll want to keep them on your counter. If you store these in the fridge, they’ll dry out quickly. 

The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls - The softest, lightest, and most irresistible rolls ever! Try them and you'll be a believer, too!

The Best Glazed Orange Rolls

The Best Glazed Orange Rolls

These homemade orange rolls are filled with a buttery orange filling and are topped with a simple orange glaze. They can be prepped the night before, if needed. 

Yield: 20 rolls
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rise Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum)
  • pinch salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked

Filling

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 of 1 stick), very soft – let it sit out while dough rises
  • about 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

Orange Glaze

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (orange extract may be substituted)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste (helps balance the sweetness)
  • about 3 tablespoons milk or cream, or as needed for consistency
  • 3 teaspoons orange zest, divided

Instructions

Make the Dough

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or use a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon and your hands), add 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt; set aside.
  2. In 2-cup glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, and the butter and heat to melt, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Add buttermilk to melted butter and warm to temperature, about 45 seconds on high power in the microwave. (Based on the type of yeast used, milk temperatures will vary. Red Star Platinum yeast calls for warmer temperatures than most, 120 to 130F; other brands and yeast call for much lower temperatures, about 95 to 105F. Heat the mixture according to manufacturer’s recommendations on the packaging. Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is highly recommended, but if you’re not, make sure the milk is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don’t kill the yeast.) If the milk separates or gets a little funny looking after being warmed, whisk it to smooth it out.
  4. Add butter-buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, crack and lightly whisk the eggs, and then add eggs to mixing bowl.
  6. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to knead dough for about 5 to 7 minutes (about 7 to 10 minutes by hand using a wooden spoon and then switching to your hands). 3 cups of flour and 5 minutes is perfect for me, but if after 5 minutes your dough is very sloppy, wet, and won’t come together, add up to 1/4 cup flour, or as needed until it does come together. However, the more flour added, the denser and heavier the rolls will be; wetter dough is preferred to overly dry. If dough is dry or crumbly, drizzle in buttermilk until it comes together.
  7. Remove dough from the mixing bowl, spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl, and flip it over once so it’s lightly oiled on both top and bottom.
  8. Cover bowl with plasticwrap and place it in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or doubled in size. I keep my bowl inside a powered-off oven that I preheated for 1 minute to 400F, then it’s powered off. Do not, repeat do not, keep the oven on. The pre-heated, warm oven creates a nice 85F-ish environment, ideal for yeast. If your rising spot is cold, rising will likely take longer than 2 1/2 hours.
  9. While dough rises, line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Roll Out the Dough & Fill

  1. After dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Turn dough out onto a Silpat or floured countertop.
  2. With a rolling pin, roll it out to about 26-by-13-inches. Use the 13-inch side of the 9-x13 pan to eyeball it, no need use a ruler.
  3. Using a knife, evenly spread butter over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch bare margin.
  4. Add about 3/4 cup marmalade, more as needed, and smooth it with a knife. It should be a thin-ish layer; too much and you risk it leaking, but not enough and the rolls aren’t orangey enough; use your judgment. The butter and marmalade get smeared together, which is okay.
  5. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the top, and lightly pat it down with your fingertips to help it adhere.

Slice the Dough

  1. Starting with a long edge (the 26-inch side), roll the dough into a tightly wound log, with the seam side down.
  2. Using a knife, make small hash marks so there will be 20 evenly sized rolls (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide; or make bigger rolls and yield 12 to 16). Hash marks create less guesswork once you start slicing and things get messier and harder to eyeball where to slice; the hash marks are nice place-markers.
  3. Use plain, unwaxed dental floss to slice the rolls. I highly recommend slicing the rolls with floss, not knives. Floss does not squish or compact the log like knives do.
  4. Arrange the rolls in the prepared pan, 5 rows of 4 rolls across. Cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. (See note below)*

Bake the Orange Rolls

    1. Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and cooked through (ovens, dough, and climates vary and so will baking duration, but 1 to 2 minutes matters in this recipe). Watch rolls like a hawk and don’t overbake or they won’t taste nearly as good.

Make the Orange Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl, add the orange juice, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, optional salt, and whisk to combine; mixture will be thick.
  2. Drizzle in the milk as needed until mixture can be whisked smooth and is to desired consistency.
  3. Whisk in 2 teaspoons zest; set aside remainder.
  4. Evenly pour glaze over rolls.
  5. Evenly sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon zest.
  6. Serve immediately. Rolls are best warm and fresh, but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days; reheat in micro for about 5 seconds to re-soften or as desired. I am comfortable keeping glazed rolls at room temp and do not recommend storing them in the fridge because they will dry out.

Notes

*To make the orange rolls the night before: Don’t let rolls rise after they’ve been sliced and placed in covered pan. Place pan in refrigerator for up to 16 hours. Before baking, let the rolls rise at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. Then move onto the section labeled "Bake the Orange Rolls."

To freeze these rolls: Rolls can be made and baked to completion, and then frozen for up to 6 months; unthaw and glaze immediately prior to serving. I recommend baking them from start to finish and then freezing, rather than trying to freeze unbaked dough, if you want to make in bulk in advance.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 42mg Sodium: 93mg Carbohydrates: 50g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 28g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g

More Cinnamon Roll Recipes: 

Overnight Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls — To date, these are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. They’re soft and fluffy and taste better than the kind you get at the mall.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bake — The cinnamon rolls have the soft and gooey factor of a Cinnabon but with rich pumpkin flavor and plenty of icing! 

Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze — Soft, glazed rolls filled with sweet strawberry jam! 

Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze averiecooks.com

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Roll Bake — This cinnamon roll recipe with apples and caramel sauce is easy, ready in 30 minutes, and you don’t even have to make scratch cinnamon roll dough.

1-Hour Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting Make soft, light, fluffy cinnamon rolls from scratch in 1 hour! 

One-Hour Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting - It's possible to make soft, light, fluffy cinnamon rolls from scratch in 1 hour! Get the recipe at averiecooks.com

Nutella Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze – A can of crescent rolls never tasted so good as when they’re stuffed with Nutella and rolled up. Ready from start to finish in 15 minutes! 

The BEST Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls — These truly are the best pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Soft, light, fluffy and there’s just enough pumpkin flavor to notice, but not so much that it overwhelms the inherent beauty of classic cinnamon rolls.

130 comments on “The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls”

  1. I am new to your site and just made these for the first time and they were divine! I plan on making again for my family on Christmas. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. I have been wanting to make these rolls since I saw them posted this summer. I also wanted to start a new tradition with my little kids this year for Christmas and start making homemade rolls for Christmas morning. I decided on these rolls for my first time at making them homemade. Wow, they were delicious and beautiful. My son is a picky eater and I try everything to get him to eat a variety of foods. He loved these and ate the last one!! Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Hi :) i would like to know if i can line my pan with baking paper instead of aluminum foil. Thank you

  4. Thank you so much :)

  5. Could I use bread flour with this recipe?

  6. Wowzers! Just made these and had my first warm bite. Thank you for this recipe!

  7. Hi Averie,

    I just want to say that I am literally in shock that I was able to make these Sweet Orange rolls so easily, and they are literally the softest, sweetest most wonderful pastry/roll I have ever had, I cannot believe it! Thank you SOOOO much! I cannot wait to do the cinnamon version. I made my own buttermilk using 1/3 greek yoghurt and 2/3 milk and it worked a treat. Also your tip about putting on the oven for 1 min then turning off as a warm rising area is a great idea and they rose really well. I feel really buoyed up and excited about baking more. I feel blessed that I stumbled across y0ur web-site just from a Google search. Thanks again, you have added a spring in my baking step! I had an idea a while back for starting a little pop-up’occasional’  breakfast menu bakery and these have really given me the confidence to maybe have a proper go at it. I know i sound like I am going crazy over-the-top but I really am so delighted with these, thanks, you have a real gift, thanks for sharing it!

    Niamh

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and that you feel excited to bake more! Glad my tips and tricks worked out great for you and that you’re super delighted! Love comments like these :)

  8. I tried the Orange Marmalade rolls- followed the recipe almost exactly. These have to be the softest, chewiest and and all in all the best Sweet rolls I have ever made. I have baked caramel apple rolls and cinnamon rolls in the past, but these were simply amazing. The buttermilk was an amazing idea. Definitely going to be following you more and perhaps kissing my waistline goodbye. :P Truly delightful recipe. :) 

  9. I am planning to make these for a group meeting I have this week, and was wondering if you had a recommendation for when to add the icing… would you recommend pouring it on after I reach my destination?  Or before I leave home?  Do you think it would even matter?  I can’t wait to try these – I love orange sweet rolls!!

    • I really don’t think it’s going to matter that much provided you aren’t in the car for hours and hours. And even if you were…who cares :) They’re homemade rolls and they will be fabulous and loved by all. Enjoy!

  10. I am making these right now, but have a question? How soon after you turn the oven off, do you put the bowl in for raising? You cannot put cling wrap in a hot oven or it will melt onto the dough. Thank you.

    • The oven shouldn’t be hot. It should be warmer than room temp is in the winter. Think 85F summer day no a/c in the kitchen, definitely not over 105F or it is too hot. Plastic won’t melt at that temp.

    • I believe the oven is only set at 400 degrees for 1 minute then turned off – not nearly long enough to get hot enough to melt the plastic (probably takes 7-10 min. to get oven all the way up to actual 400 degrees, depending on if elect or gas).

  11. I have made these rolls several times alrady and we love them!
    Today I made them with a twist and turned them to raspberry lime rolls, also a very good combination <3

  12. I will be making this again. It is a very good recipe. I think people that are having issues with it too wet may need to let it sit longer than just one hour. I left mine at room temp 2-3 hours till it doubled. I am anxious now to make regular cinnamon rolls with it.

  13. Can this dough be frozen, after the rolls are all put together? Would there be any problem with that?

  14. Hi! So I just made these. But while I was making these, I licked the spoon I used to spread the marmalade (of course I was done spreading :-) ). And the marmalade tasted quite bitter. I was somewhat shocked. I expected it to be sweet. But i was hopeful that the icing and brown sugar (which I actually added more in fear of the bitterness being overpowering) would sweeten the rolls enough to combat the bitterness. But after baking, everything about the rolls are perfect but they have a bitter aftertaste. Did I buy a bad jar of orange marmalade? I honestly do not think these are how they are suppose to taste based upon your description and everyone’s wonderful reviews. Any thoughts?

    • There are some orange marmalades that are bitter, yes I have encountered those. I am sorry you got a bitter one! While marmalade in general isn’t sweet like typical jams, it’s definitely not supposed to be bitter either and you’re right, bitter marmalade would make the rolls taste off. The only thing I could say is that if you remake them, buy a couple different kinds of marmalade (cheap is fine – they tend to be sweeter to me) and test before using. Thanks for trying the recipe.

    • Try to avoid marmalade with Valencia oranges as those are always bitter. I guess some people like that?

  15. Hi! Planning to make these today. Do you know how well it would work to double the recipe or would it be better to just do the whole thing twice? Thanks!

    • Good question. I have never doubled it and making the whole thing twice is more of a guarantee for success but if you are an experienced bread-maker, I don’t think it would matter too much. Enjoy!

  16. I’ve made these a few times and they’re always a huge hit! I’ve used both the bake-straight-through method and the overnight method. Now I am wondering if I can bake straight through one day, put them in the fridge (or on the counter?), and then just heat them up and add the glaze the next morning. Do you think they’d be just as fabulous?

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad these are always a hit! With cinnamon rolls or sweet rolls like this I do think that fresh is best but if it’s just overnight maybe they will still be just as good if you heat them up slightly and then glaze that morning.

  17. (I’m attempting my question again, can’t find it when I scroll through so maybe it didn’t post.) I’ve made these a few times and they are always fabulous, always a huge hit! I’ve used the bake-straight-through method as well as the overnight method, both work great. Now I’m even shorter on time for a morning, but still would love to make these for friends. Do you think they would be just as delicious if I baked them the night before, then left them in the fridge (or on counter?) overnight, and then reheated and added the glaze in the morning?

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad these are always a hit! With cinnamon rolls or sweet rolls like this I do think that fresh is best but if it’s just overnight maybe they will still be just as good if you heat them up slightly and then glaze that morning.

  18. I am a new baker and I don’t know what I did wrong,The first raise was beautiful, the second rise after the rolls were in the pan not so much. The rolls flavor is delicious but they are small and very dense, almost hard. What did I do wrong?

    Rating: 4
    • I got your email as well. I really don’t know what to say. Usually if the first rise is fine, things will be fine. Not sure why they didn’t rise much on the second rise and that they were hard. Making bread can be tricky at times and it’s so hard to say from afar what exactly happened. Thanks for trying the recipe.

  19. I’ve made this 3x and the first rise only takes an hour, not 2-2 1/2. Also, I use a Kyocera ceramic knife for slicing. The blade is very thin.

  20. How do you know when they are cooked through as mine seemed a bit doughy on the bottom but golden on top after 15min. of cooking.

    Rating: 4
  21. I love to bake, but I am hesitant when it comes to using yeast. This recipe is amazing. I tried it out today and I immediately ate one. Oh my goodness! I will use this recipe from now on. Thank you so much!

    Rating: 5
  22. These are delicious! I baked a pan for Christmas and popped it in the freezer. What would you suggest is the best way to thaw it?

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad these turned out delicious! For thawing, I would simply placed on your counter top and let it come to room temperature, however long that takes, it might be a couple hours it might be 10 hours, depending on how warm or cold your kitchen is. And then maybe I would put one in the microwave at a time for 10 seconds before I actually ate it with extra icing 👍

  23. Just checked my raising dough and I’m pretty sure it’s ruined. I preheated and turned off the oven as in the recipe. The bowl is so hot and I’m sure the yeast was affected, it hasn’t risen at all. How much earlier do you preheat the oven before putting the dough in to raise?

    • I basically preheat my oven for a few minutes, shut the oven off, and put the dough into rise. I basically preheat my oven for a few minutes, shut the oven off, and put the dough into rise. It’s supposed to be a warm environment, it’s not supposed to be so hot that it’s cooking anything or overheating anything. During the winter months, it’s hard to get dough rise in a cold kitchen on the counter which is why I suggest this trick, but if it’s more trouble than it’s worth, just allow your dough to rise in the future on the counter.

  24. First time making orange rolls and they came out awesome! My hubby absolutely loves the buttery orangey sweetness of these rolls. The only thing is they were on the soft side (melt in your mouth kind) and I wonder if it’s the way this recipe is set to be? It’s not really fluffy and chewy like most rolls, probably because of the amount of glaze on top. Overall really happy. Thanks!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad they turned out awesome on your first attempt!

      Yes these are a very soft roll, not a very dense or chewy roll, definitely on the softer side. But maybe you’d benefit from a touch more flour and/or more kneading, that will cause more gluten to develop and will create a fluffier and chewier roll. With bread making, there is a bit of trial and error, especially since exact ingredients, climates, etc vary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.